Beach Art

IMG_4890Bob is a guy who has to have a project. If he doesn’t have something to do, it is miserable for him and for me. So when the weather report showed a couple of cold and rainy weeks coming, I panicked. What is Bob going to do for two weeks? He is not an indoor-type of guy and he does not often sit down and read a book (where he and I differ, I devour books!)  The thought of two weeks holed up in the fifth wheel with Bob and his TV shows blaring was not making me happy. I worried about it as we went for our early morning walk. We were discussing ideas of things for him to do when we tripped over a piece of driftwood. Bob picked it up and looked at it. We both at the same time said: “Wow, that looks like a Dorado fish!” We laughed and he put it under his arm as we walked along, continuing to talk about what project Bob could do in cold weather. Bob looked at me and said that he thought one thing he could do is paint the driftwood. “Paint the driftwood?” I asked. “Yeah,” he said, “I think it would be neat.” So the next trip to Panama City we bought some acrylic paints and paint brushes. He came home and found some pictures of Dorado fish and went to work. It came out fabulous! So that’s how it started. Now whenever we walk we are looking for driftwood that looks like something other than a piece of wood. It has also led to “field trips” to search for wood. On cold and rainy days Bob gets out all his paints and he is happy for hours. And I’m happy! Here’s some of his driftwood art:

 “Nessie” the Loch Ness Monster:


Wiley Rabbit:


Dog (or something, we’re not exactly sure!):




Mr. Fish:


Mr. Frog on a log (this is really tiny and his first “commissioned piece. Our friend found it on the beach and asked him to paint it for her!):


Silly Fish:


And my favorite: Alligator With An Attitude. We found this piece of driftwood on St. Vincent’s Island:

Alligator driftwood



Porta-Bote (or Fold-A-Boat)

Porta-bote in action

Porta-bote in action

The RV lifestyle is not going to work unless we can get out on the water. Problem is how to bring all the toys with you when hauling a fifth-wheel. We absolutely have to bring the Harley, and we absolutely have to have a boat. Bob is researching a swivel-trailer that hooks into the frame of the fifth-wheel so we can pull the motorcycle. But pulling a boat in addition to the Harley? Not going to work.

We remembered a funny little boat we saw a few years ago while we were camping in Florida. It is called a Porta-Bote, or Fold-A-Boat. It folds up flat and is the size of a surfboard. We watched the fellow unload and then unfold it. Within a very short time he had it ready to put in the water. We watched in disbelief as he pulled it to the water, put his motor on the mount and then head off down the water. The boat looked sturdy and was moving at an impressive pace. Wow, we thought. We need to check into that thing!

When the boat came back at the end of the day, Bob headed over and quizzed him as to what the heck it was. What a find. The fellow sang high praises. He said that it is made of high impact polypropylene which is an engineered resin originally developed for use in the aerospace field. It is so hard it is resistant to sharp rocks and/or collisions; impervious to sand, salt, and acid. He said it is virtually indestructible as well as being very light weight. He gave us the information we needed to do our research. We soon found that they don’t come on the resale market very often. We kept looking and were excited when we finally found one on Craig’s List last year. It belonged to a widow in Arkansas. She and her husband had only used it a couple of times before he passed away. It is 12’ foot long. (24” wide and 3” thick when folded).  Just what we had decided we wanted as the 8′ and the 10′ seemed to us to be a bit too small and the 14′ too long.

Indian Pass Sunset

Indian Pass Sunset

We took it with us last year to Indian Pass, Florida where we spent the winter. It worked perfectly. We were able to load it on the truck for transport when we had the motor home, but since buying the fifth-wheel we have been in a quandary wondering how the heck we were going to haul it.  The company sells RV mounts so one can put it on the side of the vehicle; or on the roof, but they are $329 (often on sale for $199). Bob was also reluctant to drill holes in the trailer, although if need be he would have done so. Some people load it on top, but even though it folds into the size of a surf board, we hated the idea of driving down the road, not being able to see it and wondering if it blew off or not. It is 12’ long, so we did not think we would be able to get it in the trailer, just because of angles. But…yeah! We were pleasantly surprised when we tried it as it fits easily and lays on the floor without being in the way at all. Problem solved.

Bob and Finnean fishing

Bob and Finnean fishing

It is a great little boat. Despite the flexible floor, it feels very sturdy. Even Finnean (our Westie) feels very safe and secure riding in it. We have a 6 hp motor on it, and although it works fine, we are thinking that a 9 hp would be better. It’s great for fishing. We are thinking about buying the bow ladder that the company sells so we can jump in when we want to go for a swim.

Unfolding it and getting it out on the water takes less than 20 minutes. Here’s how we do it: